Research Psychologist: Career and Education Facts

Research psychologists conduct experiments dealing with human and animal behavior. Find out what courses are included in graduate degree programs in this field, and learn about job opportunities available to research psychologists. Schools offering Addiction Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Research psychologists, also known as experimental psychologists, conduct experiments within public, private, non-profit and government sectors studying both human and animal behavior. Unlike clinical psychologists who spend most of their time treating patients, as a research psychologist, you may spend the majority of your time working in a lab. You may also find yourself in a teaching capacity, instructing others on research methods and explaining your findings. Degree programs at both the master's and doctorate level are available.

Programs Doctorate degrees are most desirable, but master's degrees are also available
Courses Social psychology, research methods, behavioral science
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 11% growth, faster than average (for all other psychologists)
Median Salary (2017)* $97,740 (for all other psychologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Do With a Master's Degree?

Although you don't need a bachelor's degree specifically in psychology to enter a master's degree program in experimental psychology, you'll likely need to take some prerequisite courses in statistics and psychology. Graduates with master's degrees may be able to find positions in basic research or teaching, as well as applied research. After earning your master's degree in experimental psychology, you may obtain work in hospital, school, industry or government settings. However, these programs are often designed to be stepping stones toward doctoral studies. You may enjoy greater career prospects if you go on to obtain a doctoral degree.

What Can I Expect From a Ph.D. Program?

You need a Ph.D. in experimental psychology to be most competitive in the field of research psychology. A doctoral program can take 5-7 years to complete after you receive your bachelor's degree. It may take less time if you already have a master's degree. You may have the opportunity to choose a concentration, such as cognitive behavior, neuroscience or social psychology. Clinical research is a critical component of your coursework; many programs use the research conducted by their faculty as a selling point for potential students.

What Courses Will I Take?

As a graduate student in research psychology, you may take courses in the following:

  • Statistics
  • Research design
  • Ethics
  • Personality
  • Cognition
  • Developmental psychology

You can also expect to complete a dissertation or thesis depending on whether you enroll in a Ph.D. or master's degree program, respectively. If you choose a program where you concurrently earn a Ph.D and master's degree, you may be required to complete both a dissertation and a thesis. Additionally, you may need to complete an internship.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »